Author: pieterb967

Commercial, Construction

Hisense Sky-sign, Durban

May 4, 2017

Drone footage of the Hisense Sky-sign in Durban City Center constructed by FaceFirst Media. Filmed with Phantom 4 Pro








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A visit to Mpumalanga

April 4, 2017

A recent visit to the beautiful province of Mpumalanga provided ample opportunity to film some of the most iconing landmarks our country has to offer.

From the spectacular panorama’s of Longtom Pass to the majestic waterfalls surrounding Sabie.

Weather was not our friends but I tried to make the most of the opportunity we had to visit places like Bridal Veil Falls, Mac Mac, The Pinnacle and God’s Window.

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A visit to Umhlanga Rocks

Umhlanga is an affluent residential, commercial and resort town north of Durban on the coast of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It is part of the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, created in 2000, which includes the greater Durban area. (the correct pronunciation of “hl” in Umhlanga is similar to the Welsh “ll”), the name means “place of reeds” in the Zulu language. It is bordered by Durban North to the south and Mt Edgecombe to the west.

Umhlanga is well know for it’s iconic Lighthouse and Whale Bone Pier. Some of the more affluent hotels along the beachfront include Cabana Beach Resort, The Oysters Hotel and Beverly Hills Hotel.

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Events, Sport

Silver Valke Rugby Club

March 12, 2017

Silver Valke Rugby Club is based in Silverton, Pretoria and has a rich history of Rugby and involvement in the local community. They pride themselves in their cultures and traditions and their Rugby

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Nature, Sport

Bronkies Crag

February 15, 2017

Bronkies Crag is private property and is utilised by members of the Mountaineering Club of South Africa for members who wish to exercise/practice their rock-climbing skills.

Members of the public may visit the site by paying a small entrance fee and signing the visitors book upon entry. The site itself and nearby Bronkhorstspruit dam provides some breathtaking scenery and is an ideal day outing for the entire family.

  • Meadow
  • Cliff Face
  • Climber
  • Cattle
  • Dam Wall
  • Going down
  • Stream

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Preparing for a shoot

What you need to know before taking to the skies

What should I do before taking on a shoot for a client or before that magical event you have been waiting for?

What do I need to take with me?

How do I ensure safety for all involved as well as the drone I will be using?

All these questions have crossed the minds of most responsible drone pilots.

Therefore, here are a few hints and tips I have come to include in my “pre-shoot checklist”

Pre-flight checklist


Crack in joints and structural members

Loose or damaged screws, ties, fasteners, straps

Loose or damaged wiring

Loose or damaged connections (solder, plugs, etc.)

Inspect prop mounts and screws and apply slight counter pressure on arms to check for loosened components

FPV , inspect / clean FPV (Camera) Lens and insure it is secured and connects are firmly attached

Camera settings are correct (still images, video, framerate)

Battery / Batteries are fully charged, properly seated and Secured

Fail-safe equipment functioning

RTH (return to home)

Recovery chute

Firmware Airport Proximity Detection Functioning

Props are smooth and free of damage / defect (check blade, surface and hub)

Prop adapters are tight / secure

Ensure voltage alarm is connected

Ensure arming / idle timeout is properly configured

Correct model is selected in transmitter (if applicable)

Check RC transmitter shows the right range and centering for all sticks

Perform range test

Have a clear vision of the site where you will be flying/filming

Filming at a venue from the sky without ever having been there is daunting and unfamiliar. You have no idea of terrain, obstacles, weather and a good spot from where to launch and operate your craft.

I have found a platform like Google maps to be invaluable in this regard. Although the imagery might be old, certain landmarks and terrain features obviously remain unchanged. Maps give you a good idea of elevation as well as the general surroundings of the site/event you will be filming.

Have a clear vision of WHAT you want to film

Take a good look around and establish EXACTLY what you want to film. Whether it is people, scenery, a specific point of interest or buildings. Know what your subject will be for every shoot.

Inspect the site/premises you wish to film. Take note of obstacles and surrounding and try to envision a flight path for the craft around your subject. If your subject is not stationary, it is a good idea to pre-program a flight path, allowing the operator to focus on panning or moving the camera.

Take a test flight before recording to get a clear understanding of WHERE you want to be to film WHAT. The view from up there is a little different to ground zero and knowing your terrain and surrounding from the sky will prove invaluable once you take off to start filming.

Check camera settings

Before take-off, basic camera settings should be checked. These include capture format, frame rate, resolution etc. However, ISO, Shutter speed, white balance and aperture should not be set before your craft is airborne.

Why ?

Exposure values (EV) are different on the ground to EV in the sky. Reflective light, cloud cover and light reflected from the surface all have an influence on your EV.

Get to your filming altitude, hover and then fine-tune your camera settings. Ideally your EV should be around +0.

Once you have the correct exposure value, be sure to engage the exposure lock (AE) lock as this will ensure the EV does not change even if lighting conditions do.

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Commercial, Construction

Irene Mall Construction

February 13, 2017

Construction of Irene Village Mall Phase II, which will consist of an additional 24 000m² (essentially a single level with a partial basement) on Part of Erf 3039 Irene Ext 60 and Part of the remainder of portion 539 of the Farm Doornkloof 391-JR located on the corner of Nelmapius Road and Pierre van Ryneveld Road, Irene, Pretoria, in Gauteng.

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Commercial, Real Estate

Ctrack SA

February 9, 2017

The Marketing department of Ctrack SA was given an aerial view of their premises in Irene, Pretoria.

Ctrack is the market leader in vehicle tracking and fleet management.

  • Ctrack
  • Ctrack
  • Ctrack
  • Ctrack

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E.R.O.R.A. offroad track, Kempton Park

February 3, 2017

On Sunday 5 February, 2016 I was invited to attend a practice session at the East Rand Off Road Association’s, E.R.O.R.A track to take some aerial snaps of the premises and stuff in general.

Light was bad and optimal exposures with difficult, even when doing some correction and grading in post.

The idea was to fly around the track and get a feel for the route and obstacles in the way. At the same time I put the “Active Track” intelligent flight mode to the test. On the standard DJI Go 4 app, the subject in question, moved out of the active track range to fast.

This resulted in doing a manual fly-around.

On the 25th of Feb I will return to the track using the Litchi app “Waypoint” feature with a pre-planned waypoint mission already set up.

Stay tuned for an update on that week following the 25th …

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